"Tart Cherries, specifically the Montmorency variety, contain an extremely significant quantity of natural antioxidants - enough to produce positive results in the body. Cherry-juice concentrate, which involves greatly reducing the water content, has ten-times the antioxidants of the raw fruit.”
Dr Russell Reiterm Texas Health Science Center.
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan, were the first to identify the presence of numerous natural compounds in tart cherries with antioxidant properties – including its ORAC value.
ORAC stands for ‘oxygen radical absorption capacity’ and is a measure of how many antioxidants are in a food product and how powerful they are. ORAC refers to the antioxidant properties of a compound and therefore its ability to protect the body from free radical damage.
Testing showed that tart cherry juice concentrate has 12,800 ORAC units /100g of concentrate; dried cherries have 6,800 ORAC units/ 100g. Other fruits, including prunes, blueberries and strawberries test within 700 to 5,700 ORAC units/100g. Nutritionists suggest that people consume at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day to impact health.
During testing Brunswick Labs also discovered that tart cherries contain a class of compounds that act like super oxide dismutase (SOD) – a powerful enzyme and cellular antioxidant that ferrets out and destroys superoxide anions throughout the body. Very few natural foods contain SOD.
In addition, tart cherries were found to contain significant levels of antioxidant activities against peroxyl radicals, peroxylnitrite, hydroxyl radicals (known as NORAC and HORAC) and are also loaded with nutrients including high amounts of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene.
The key benefits of Montmorency tart cherries include:
Speed recovery and reduced stiffness from training
Research highlights that prolonged physical exercise can create oxidative stress in skeletal muscle fibers and muscle fatique due to the increased production of free radicals.
Clinical trials of runners undertaken in 2009, showed that consumers of tart cherry juice had reduced inflammation markers and showed a faster recovery in isometric strength.
Improves cognitive performance in older adults
In a new study published in the journal Food & Function, researchers at the University of Delaware found a daily intake of Montmorency tart cherry juice improved memory scores among adults, ages 65 to 73 years.
The potential beneficial effects of tart cherries have been related to the bioactive compounds tart cherries possess, which include polyphenols, anthocyanins and melanin.
Reduces blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health
Findings from a previous study undertaken by Chai, David, Zhang and Kirschner suggest that 12 weeks consumption of tart cherry juice lowers the levels of systolic blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in older adults.
Researchers believe that due to the intensity of anthocyanins inside these ruby-red fruits Montmorency tart cherries may help lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce inflammation and improve belly fat – all factors specifically linked to heart disease risk.
Promotes a better night’s sleep
Tart cherries have been shown to regulates the body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle. Researchers believe they promote a better night’s sleep by drinking two 50g servings of tart juice daily or to have a handful of dried tart cherries as a bedtime snack.
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Fights inflammation and gout
Research released in the Journal of Food Studies has shown that tart cherries are one of the highest sources of phenolic compounds, specifically anthocyanins, which have been shown to fight inflammation. In fact, some researchers have concluded that Montmorency tart cherries have more inflammation-fighting potential than any other food.
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